TMHRA requesting your assistance in sending letters to the House Urban Affairs Chairwoman and Committee opposing HB 2351 by Monday, April 17. This bill was initially heard by the House Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday, April 11 and was left pending.
While HB 2351 does not affect civil service cities, we are requesting all membership (even civil service cities) to send the letter of opposition to HB 2351 in support of those cities that have not elected civil service.
Summary of TMHRA Findings:
This bill would require that the non-civil service cities to follow the investigation requirements set forth in Section 143.312, Tex. Local Gov’t Code, in connection with the investigation of a firefighter for alleged misconduct that could lead to disciplinary action, suspension, demotion in rank written reprimand, or any combination of the foregoing.
The requirements would include, among other things:
(1) Interrogation only during the firefighters assigned working hours and not at the firefighter’s home without permission;
(2) Investigation not conducted by a person that is the complainant, the ultimate decision maker, or any person with personal involvement with the alleged misconduct;
(3) Informing the firefighter in writing of the allegations at least 48 hours before the interrogation;
(4) Requiring complainants that are not firefighters to submit written sworn statement of the complaint, unless the complainant is anonymous and the departmental employee swears under oath that the complaint was anonymous;
(5) Prohibiting an unreasonably long interrogation and threats against the firefighter;
(6) Prohibiting the findings or determination to be placed in the firefighter’s personnel file if the investigation results in no punitive action if the firefighter is not given an opportunity to read and sign the document. A refusal to sing the document allows it to be placed in the firefighter’s personnel file; and
(7) Violations of these procedural requirements can be used in disciplinary hearings.
For cities that have not elected civil service, this bill would require an arduous, costly, and time-consuming process that the citizens have not authorized.